Tips to make your home more accessible this holiday season
Dec 7, 2023, 8:00 AM
SALT LAKE CITY — Christmas is around the corner, but there’s time to make your home more accessible for disabled holiday guests.
Stan Clawson is paralyzed from the waist down. He said clearing snow from sidewalks and driveways, moving furniture and rugs around, and placing things in easy-to-reach areas can all be a huge help.
Clawson described a recent call with his sister, who wanted to be prepared for his visit.
“She asked me, ‘Okay … how high does the bed need to be,'” he said. “So, I measured the distance from the floor … to the top of my mattress. Then I gave her those measurements so she could adapt the bed height at her place if need be.”
Hallways need about 36 inches of space for a wheelchair to comfortably roll through. Also, any guest bedroom should have a wheelchair-height bed.
Coordination is crucial to accessibility this holiday season
Clawson said coordination like that is crucial, and it does more than just make the stay easier.
“It means a lot when people take the time and say ‘Hey, listen, we value you, you’re part of our family,’ or ‘You’re one of our friends, we want to have you come and visit,'” he said.
They take the time to make those accommodations … That’s one of the greatest gifts somebody can give somebody who has a disability.”
If you’re looking for rental equipment like portable ramps for your front door, check out social media or the classifieds. The Utah Center for Assistive Technology also has great resources.
“They’re really good at working with people to find accessible accommodations and … do some problem-solving when it comes to accessibility,” Clawson said.
He said inclusion and creating a welcoming space is the key.
“Not only inviting people over and making the space accessible, but … letting them be a part of the meal prep,” he said. “If somebody wants to help out and they have a disability, let them help out.”